Bills at Chiefs betting preview: There's value on the 1st-half total
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The AFC Championship Game could be an all-timer if Patrick Mahomes is healthy.

The reigning Super Bowl MVP's status for Sunday's clash against the Buffalo Bills is still uncertain after he suffered a concussion last weekend. If he can't play, veteran quarterback Chad Henne would start for the Kansas City Chiefs (-3, 53).

Let's dive into Sunday's matchup and see where we can find value.

Trends and results

The public continues to look foolish when fading the Bills.

Buffalo beat the Ravens and covered as 2.5-point chalk in the divisional round, improving to 9-1 both straight up and against the spread over the team's last 10 games. The Bills promptly go from a home favorite to a road 'dog this Sunday, but head coach Sean McDermott hasn't been fazed in that spot, with his club covering in each of its last four contests when getting points, and four straight away from home.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, failed to cover last Sunday against Cleveland, marking the team's seventh ATS loss over its last eight games as a favorite. Kansas City has also been held to 22 points or fewer in three straight contests.

These two squads can score fast, as both offenses rank among the top five in DVOA. But some totals this postseason haven't come close to hitting the over. In fact, playoff games featuring totals of 50 or higher are on a 19-9 run to the under after all three cashed in the divisional round.


Josh Allen

All the talk is centered around Mahomes, but Allen is the real X-factor here.

The Chiefs put on a ball-control clinic during the regular-season meeting between these two teams, holding on for roughly 38 minutes while running 22 more plays, and outgaining the Bills by a whopping 260 yards.

Allen was given only nine drives to work with in the 22-17 loss. He finished the outing just 14-of-27 passing for 122 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and 42 yards on the ground.

His job Sunday is to make every drive count.

The Bills rely heavily on Allen. He's first on the team in rushing touchdowns, and Buffalo ranks No. 12 in pass-play frequency despite ranking No. 5 in scoring margin. The coaching staff prefers to put the ball in the passer's hands, which was evident when Buffalo called just nine rushing attempts for players not named Allen last weekend.

To defeat Kansas City in its own building, Allen needs to be a one-man wrecking crew.

Best bet

First half over 26

McDermott, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and the rest of the Bills' coaching staff have typically come out with a solid game plan, as Buffalo ranks No. 3 in the NFL in first-half points per game at 15.7. The Bills should show a serious sense of urgency Sunday after how difficult it was to maintain possession during the previous meeting between these clubs, especially early as road 'dogs in a hostile environment.

Kansas City, meanwhile, is tied for fourth in first-half points per game (15.4). If Mahomes returns, it should be business as usual. But if Henne is under center, I'd feel much more comfortable playing the first-half total than the full game. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and his staff will likely dial up a couple of early scripted plays tailored to Henne's strengths before the defense adjusts.

Look for the offenses to come out firing.

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.

Bills at Chiefs betting preview: There's value on the 1st-half total
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